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Morning Musume.: The Light of Youth with This Memory

Happy Monday!

Today was my first day with my new preschool class. I knew the kids in this year’s class. It’s because the preschool I work at is small and I knew the kids from last year. So there was no crying. Relief! I also have a better schedule this year, and Mondays are not so busy. I get to come home and take a nap (or just close my eyes for about twenty minutes) before Tae Kwon Do!

Today. I am going to talk about one of my favorite groups of all time: Morning Musume.! I have talked about this group in the past, but I am going to pick something from their beginning years. The song I picked is “Memory ~Seishun no Hikari~”.

Who is Morning Musume.?

I recently have been watching a lot of a late 90s Japanese show called ASAYAN. This show was a mix of American TV shows TRL, Big Brother, and American Idol. On ASAYAN, there were countless auditions that helped launch the careers of various singers like CHEMISTRY, Ami Suzuki, and J Soul Brothers. There would be also behind the scenes segments with artists doing various tasks like recording music or shooting a music video. Finally, there would be a live performance or two each week with a small talk beforehand.

Morning Musume in 1999

Morning Musume., which is translated as Morning Daughters, came from an audition held by a Japanese rock band called SharamQ. The whole audition process was televised on ASAYAN in 1997 and it was super popular with viewers. The five runner-ups, or as fans would call them losers, came together to form the idol group Morning Musume. One of the many ideas that producer Tsunku had for the group was to have a revolving door of members. So, members will leave the group or “graduate” and new ones would be added almost every year.

The group is still going strong after 22 years since their formation. However, the members are much younger. Some were born AFTER the group formed!

(By the way, Morning Musume. is still one of the top-selling girl groups in Japan.)

Morning Musume. ’19

Memory: The Light of Youth

“Memory Seishun no Hikari” was released twenty years ago. It was the group’s fourth single and the last one to feature first-generation member Asuka Fukuda. The original reason why Fukuda left was that she was graduating to focus on studies. But, she later reviewed that she actually quit school afterward to hang around Tokyo.

Tsunku

The song is an R&B tune that was inspired by the popularity of the genre. One such artist that helped make R&B popular in Japan was Hikaru Utada. When Utada’s “Automatic” rocked the music world in 1998, Tsunku decided to try his luck at making an R&B hit. Well, it didn’t go so well. “Memory Seishun no Hikari” only sold over 400,000 copies, compared to the million copies that “Automatic/time will tell” sold.

Tsunku does mention in the linear notes on his official website that he wanted “Memory Seishun no Hikari” to have a worldwide beat and feature session musicians. The group actually recorded the song in New York with legendary musicians Will Lee, Chris Parker, and Hiram Bullock. The CD jacket was shot in Shanghai.

Kaori Iida once explained about the meaning of lyrics on the music TV show CDTV. The song is about a girl who is reminiscing past memories (with an ex-lover). She is continuing those memories in a letter. The song is pretty sad as the girl is painfully recollecting those memories. The guy in the relationship moved on, but it is taking the girl a bit longer as she is still haunted about being in love with the guy.

This kind of painful, sad memories from experiencing a breakup is what a lot of girls and women have experienced in their lifetime. I have experienced it. It took me a long time to get over it, but I finally did.

How about you? Do you have similar experiences with painful breakup memories?

One more thing to add, I didn’t pick this song because of the sad lyrics. I chose it because I love the harmonies featured in the tune. Japan during the 90s was all about the harmonies. When I was in an online cover group for Morning Musume. songs back in high school, I would try to memorize the harmonies so I could sing them. I am trying to practice the harmonies for “Memory Seishun no Hikari” so I can drag a friend to the karaoke booth and let me sing harmonies.

The harmonies are pretty, right?

The Lyrics to “Seishun no Hikari” by Morning Musume.

Here are the lyrics translated:

The memo’s a bit long
But please read it all the way to the end
I didn’t realize how lonesome
It is to be alone

That night when everything broke apart
I cried with all my heart… Good bye
Exhausted by love,
I’ll lock up this room and return the key to you

Goodbye (Just breaking my heart)
I don’t want to see that face ever again
Goodbye (Just breaking my heart)
The one I loved

You can crumple the memo and throw it away
But please read it all the way to the end
I’ve never been held
that affectionately before

I’m leaving my memories behind, but
Don’t love your new girlfriend
In the same way you loved me
Goodbye… goodbye… goodbye…

With a little bit of chance
We really did last a long time, didn’t we?
Just in the time we spent fooling around
I found myself falling in love with you

Goodbye (Just breaking my heart)
We won’t meet ever again
Goodbye (Just breaking my heart)
To our room

The memo’s a bit long
But please read all the way to the end
I didn’t realize how lonesome
It is to be alone

Memories, my memories
It’s hard to part with them
I learned that from loving you
Goodbye… goodbye… goodbye…

You can crumple the memo and throw it away
But please read it all the way to the end
I’ve never been held
that affectionately before

I’m leaving my memories behind, but
Don’t love your new girlfriend
In the same way you loved me
Goodbye… goodbye… goodbye…

Goodbye… goodbye…
Goodbye… goodbye…

Credit: https://projecthello.com/momusu/memory.html

Here is a bonus performance of Maki Goto, who was in Morning Musume from 1999-2002, and Aya Matsuura, who was a soloist alongside Morning Musume. I am a big fan of Maki Goto.


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